I remember when I was younger ages 6-10, I'd always wake up at 5am with my uncle and follow him around as he got ready to go out on the hunt, secretly hoping he'd take me with. I started a collection of camo and practiced my calling until one day when I was 16, my uncle said, "Be up at 2 am. We're hunting."
My first hunting experience was spent on the river, in 20-degree weather, wearing leaky waders. I couldn't feel my feet or my hands, and I think I might have had an out of body experience at some point because my body was so numb. But I'll tell ya, the moment ducks came in, none of that mattered. I still duck hunt with my uncle.
I say all of this because that's my experience growing up as a girl duck hunter. I had the inherent love of the game, but it was because my uncle took the time to hunt with me and teach me the ropes that it has endured. Here are my suggestions:
- Keep the kid warm. Lots of layers, hand warmers, feet warmers, hugs, etc. Not that freezing her hind off will turn her away forever, but for most, a cold hunt is a bad hunt.
- Stay positive, but be honest. If Daddy/Uncle/ or Aunt/Mom is sporting a frown, it can be infectious. In the same vein, if it's been dead all day, don't build her up to think there will be waves of ducks within the next hour. If the day is slow, make it fun - have a duck calling competition, throw cattails at each other, or just pack it in and go have a hot breakfast at the nearest Denny's. Or do all three. Hunting is equal parts bonding and actually killing something. You want the association to hunting to positive. Children, boys and girls alike, tend to stay with things that have a positive connotation attached to it.
- Make sure the gun fits. this is for when she gets a bit older, but it's important. When I started out I was using my uncle's (a 6'2 tall) autoloader. It was huge and hard to carry and even though I was just starting out, I blame missing shots on having a hard-to-hold gun. I now like to go with an over-under just because it makes me feel classy and I like how it shoots. Anyway, guns are made in both "men's" and "youth" sizes respectively, so start there when the time comes.
- Make sure she knows how to shoot it. Some kids think of a huge bruise on their bicep to be like a battle scar and therefore awesome (I was one of them.) But the success-to-bruise ratio is much better when the child is taught the proper way to hold and fire the firearm.
That's about it. But my biggest piece of advice is to keep it FUN. Duck hunting has always been fun by definition in my opinion, but that's just me. Anyway, I hope this helps - I definitely think we need more gals in the field, so I commend you on your desire to keep your little one interested.